Investigation of an air-cushion supported solar island
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A preliminary investigation of a low-weight carrying marine platform concept was conducted by means of experiments and approximate theories. The platform consists of a circular elastic tube with circular cross-section, covered with an air-supported membrane deck. A vertical skirt is added along the circumference of the model to avoid air-leakage. We refer to this concept as floating solar island. Solar islands have recently gained interest. The models were subjected to waves. Both regular and irregular wave tests were conducted. Tests with the absence of the membrane (floater only) were also conducted. The general behaviour and failure modes were investigated. Failure modes include over-topping with flooding as consequence, as well as out-of-water incidents and membrane wear with air leakage as consequence. A systematic variation of wave conditions revealed for which wave conditions flooding occured. Out-of-water incidents of the skirt were not observed. Vertical accelerations were measured at eight positions along the circumference of the model, and the heave, pitch and first flexible mode motions were re-constructed by modal theory. The modal responses were compared to theory based on linear potential flow assumption, both for the floater model only, and with simplified theory accounting for the air-cushion of the island in heave. The theory was able to predict the global behaviour reasonably well, although important discrepancies were observed. More detailed studies, involving experiments with more instrumentation and development of theory, must be conducted in case deeper understanding of this relatively complex, hydro-elastic concept is needed.